Fire TV update 5.2.4.1 causing poor 24p video playback in MrMC, Kodi, and SPMC

If your Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick has received the 5.2.4.1 software update, you may be experiencing poor video playback within MrMC, Kodi, and SPMC. The developer of MrMC has emailed me letting me know that the updated version of Fire OS does not handle switching the video output to a 24Hz refresh rate correctly. This is a feature videophiles use to achieve perfect 1-to-1 synchronization between the frames in a video and the rate at which the display updates, but with software version 5.2.4.1, it results in jerky stuttering video. Read more ›

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Amazon bans nearly all ads from Alexa Skills

Amazon has updated their Alexa Skills Policy to outright ban nearly all advertisements from skills. The policy used to state that ads were only not allowed in Alexa cards, which are the visual snippets of information that appear on the Fire TV and Fire Tablets, that compliment Alexa responses. Now the Alexa skills policy states that a skill will be rejected from entry into the Alexa Skill Store if it “contains any advertising for third-party products or services, except in streaming music, streaming radio or flash briefing skills.” Read more ›

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Season 3 of Amazon original series ‘Bosch’ debuts today

The 3rd season of Amazon’s original series Bosch debuts today for all Prime members. All 10 episodes of the new season are now available to stream. Amazon has also released an Alexa Skill game called BOSCH: A Detective’s Case to accompany the new season. The game walks you through a case where you must make the right “detective’s choice” at each fork in the road to avoid false leads.

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Amazon’s Alexa can now manage Google’s G Suite work calendar

Amazon Alexa’s calendar support has been steadily growing over the years. It started with reading Google Calendar, then moved to adding items to Google Calendar. Recently Outlook.com support was added followed quickly by Office 365 integration. Now Amazon has added support for what’s likely the last large calendar platform, and that’s Google’s G Suite work calendar.

If you pop open the Alexa app, you can now link up your G Suite account. Once done, you’ll be able to have Alexa read off events coming up on your calendar, as well as dictate events to add to the calendar. Some handy commands to try, which work for all supported calendars, are “When is my next event?” and “How’s my day look?

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Ecobee4 thermostat confirmed to have hands-free far-field Alexa

It’s now pretty much confirmed that the soon to be released Ecobee4 smart thermostat has full-blown Alexa capabilities built right in. Blue light and all. Dave Zatz, who first revealed the next-generation thermostat’s big new feature, has posted an image of what appears to be official documentation outlining the thermostat’s Alexa functionality. Just like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, the Ecobee4 will have far-field voice recognition that will always be listening for the Alexa wake word. Read more ›

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Image of new waterproof Kindle leaks

The above image of a supposed next generation Kindle has just surfaced on a MobileReader forum. The leaker claims to have received the image from a retailer in China and that it is of a future waterproof version of Amazon’s eReader. The edge-to-edge glass front of the device does seem to suggest this could be the first waterproof model. Lord knows Amazon loves showing off their Kindles at the beach and next to a pool in marketing photos, so a waterproof model makes a lot of sense. Read more ›

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Why the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick have been backordered for so long

If you’re an average Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick owner, chances are you’re unaware that both devices are currently backordered into next month. More so for the Fire TV Stick, but this has been the state of Fire TV supply for most of this year. Having the line of streaming devices go out of stock after a big sale, like Prime Day or Black Friday, is expected, but there must be other reasons for the current outage. Amazon, like any other company, will just tell you supply can’t meet demand, so here’s my speculation on why the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are so hard to buy these days. Read more ›

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I’ve created a Patreon page for AFTVnews — Please take a moment to have a look

In its simplest definition, Patreon is a way for patrons (i.e., visitors/viewers/fans) to support a creator. I love running AFTVnews and hope to do it for a long time. That, among other reasons, is why I’ve created a Patreon page for AFTVnews. I’ve put a lot of thought into how Patreon can be used to improve AFTVnews for everyone and how its patron rewards can add additional value and content for those who want it. I explain it all in detail on the Patreon page and would greatly appreciate it if you would take a moment to have a look.

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Downloader app v1.1.2 update adds Favorites and Browser Menu

The new version 1.1.2 update to my Downloader app has just gone live for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. The update got stuck in Amazon’s review process, but has finally made it through. The two big new features are favorites and a browser menu. Favorites (a.k.a. bookmarks) allow you to easily save and load websites you visit often and the browser menu gives you quick access to those favorites, the ability to favorite the page you’re viewing, and a convenient JavaScript toggle. Additionally, this update adds German language translations throughout the entire app. I’ve also revamped the Downloader page on AFTVnews with screenshots and detailed documentation about all of the app’s features. Read more ›

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Amazon original series ‘Patriot’ renewed for second season

Amazon has renewed their original series Patriot for a second season. The quirky show premiered in February after it graduated from one of Amazon’s pilot seasons in 2015 and was greenlit in 2016. The show is about intelligence officer John Tavner, played by Michael Dorman, who must forgo all safety nets and assume a perilous “non-official cover,” that of a mid-level employee at a Midwestern industrial piping firm, to prevent Iran from going nuclear. This may sound like a high-action spy series, but after watching just the first episode, you’ll quickly learn it’s a lot more light-hearted than it first appears.

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